Two vegans getting married in Italy, with an all vegan wedding buffet, served dinner, cakes and final gran buffet of desserts. All organised by email from New Zealand. Mission possible!
Here is the story of how we managed to organise our entirely vegan wedding menu, with a great feedback from all guests attending the vegan wedding ceremony and reception.
Duncan proposed on our second anniversary, on the 28 October 2016, while we were strolling on Mission Bay Beach in Auckland, New Zealand. He kneeled down and asked me in Italian ‘vuoi sposarmi?’, to which of course I replied ‘Si!’. We got married in Italy on the 7th October 2017, so less than one year after the proposal.
So how did we do it? I will guide you through the main steps of organising the most important event of your life, bearing in mind of course that all we did was based on our preferences and our budget.
I will skip obvious things like setting a budget, setting a date and other common practical stuff and focus more on the logistics and the vegan aspect of our wedding, which is what matters to us. I must also point out that non of the content of this article is sponsored in any way and that these opinions are true and completely heartfelt.
Deciding the location for our vegan wedding:
I feel this was the most critical aspect in our entire wedding organising process. Initially I thought it would be reasonably easy to find a location to hire and after that contact a local caterer and ask to organise a vegan menu. Wrong.
Some of the caterers we contacted in Italy plain refused to accomodate our vegan wedding menu request, even popular big wedding catering companies replied with a bold NO or thought vegan meant vegetarian (thus including tuna as well or honey) and others simply told us the vegan offer would be more expensive than an omni menu! On top of this anyway we should have paid for hiring the venue for the day (and in some cases with an extra charge if we wanted to party until late).
Feeling quite disheartened, I decided to try our luck and research some restaurant specialised in vegan and receptions, which could be flexible enough to accomodate our vegan requirements (and not just for ourselves but for all the guests, it was our day after all!).
I researched, and emailed, and called, and worked on finding our perfect vegan wedding reception venue and I finally succeeded! While looking on Tripadvisor I stumbled upon this amazing venue in Northern Italy, near Bergamo. La Rotonda di Bacco restaurant and hotel is located on top of a mountain called Roncola so it has a spectacular view, but at the same time is only about 30 minutes drive from Milan Bergamo airport so very handy for our all international guests.
I emailed the Rotonda di Bacco full of hope as I had read this review on Tripadvisor from someone that had organised a vegan wedding in this place. After a few days a really kind lady called Roberta replied my email confirming what I was hoping, yes they could help us and yes their chef was specialised in vegan cooking and yes they had a hotel attached to the restaurant so that our guests could have discounted rooms reserved if they required.
Flowers, wedding ceremony decoration and setting on the beautiful terrace facing the Imagna valley, baby sitter, wedding suite for the first night with jacuzzi and room breakfast, and other things were all included in the offer. They also offered the exclusive of the venue with no time limitation, including a dance floor on the ground floor, where we had a band and a DJ playing until 3am!
But here’s the most important part. Our vegan wedding menu! We had a little back and forth of emails as I changed my mind a few times, and also asked to incorporate a touch of Neapolitan food (my roots) and something representing New Zealand in the menu. Also bear in mind food in Italy is the most important part of the wedding celebrations, so don’t be scared about the quantify of food offered! We wanted to spend a wonderful day with our guests and treat them with the most delicious food.
We started with a standing ‘welcome’ buffet on the terrace, just after the wedding ceremony. This was accompanied by a live duo playing some cool jazzy tunes for a more mellow start.
There are not many pictures of the initial buffet as everyone was busy eating! But I ensure you that we are still receiving compliments from our guests, even the most reluctant non vegan ones! It included dishes such as samosas, Italian pizza pies, veggie tempura, rice curry salads, fruit salads, fresh juice drinks, bruschette and polenta with mushrooms, and much more.
After the aperitivo on the terrace, we all moved to the main reception room, for the seated meal. I attach the menu above and can just tell you everything was amazing but my favourite where definitely the lasagna (the chef told me he used oat milk for the bechamelle sauce, and it was very delicate and pleasant) and the ravioli!
Let me also add that dogs are welcome by the venue and our family dog Chobin (a rescued gorgeous dog) was our special guest, as you can see above he looked pretty smart!
Here are a few photos of the day and setting for you! If you have questions about organising a vegan wedding just let me know and I will be able to share more about our experience. I will tell you more about the other aspects of our fairy tale vegan wedding soon!